If Lance Lear, the boy who would be King, didn’t always wanna think the thinks he thinked, he didn’t always wanna dream the dreams he dreamed, either.
In his dream he was in the same position he’d found himself in that day: flat on his back, pinned to the floor, Madonna straddling his torso, suffocating him with her rack. But this time she was not Old leather Pussy. She was peak bombshell Madonna – early 20s, or maybe even still an oh, so ripe teen.
This time she was titty-slapping him. She was about to rip her top off, and continue the beating. He was harder than Chinese algebra, and his inner Neanderthal was coming out of the cave… until he became aware that Kitty was watching it all go down.
He knew that Kitty had taken the tunnel, and was standing just inside it, where she could not be seen. Madonna was oblivious to Kitty’s presence, until she felt the break of their carnal connection. The Queen of Pop sat up, looked around, a lioness sensing danger… or food.
‘A cat fight!’ the boy thought. A cat fight between two femme fatales, battling it out for him! Hissing, and scratching, spiting and gouging, snarling, and most importantly, ripping each other’s clothes off!
But the battle was not to be. Madonna went from peak bombshell to Old Leather Pussy rigt in front of his eyes, and she kept rigt on going. By the time she got off him, and fled in terror, she was 100 years old. More importantly, Kitty was pissed. The boy had zero desire to deal with that, so he woke the fuck up, in a hurry.
Twenty minutes later, as he rambled through the mostly empty streets of lockdown Vancouver, Lance came upon a kid, about his age, sitting on the sidewalk.
Above the kid’s head were scrawled the words
DANGER IS REAL
FEAR IS A CHOICE
COURAGE A NECESSITY
LAUGHTER A CURE
LOVE A VACCINE
CRISIS AN OPPORTUNITY
Below the axiom was the name questionMark.
The kid was reading The Riff n Raff Rebellions Volume 1. Next to the kid a cardboard sign leaned up against the wall;
The kid became aware of Lance, and looked up. The boy could not tell if the pretty kid was a pretty boy or a pretty girl, and he pretty much didn’t care much.
Lance pointed at the book and said, “Stephen King says that’s the best book written I the past hundred years.”
The kid smiled and said, “Not sure about that, but, based on what I’ve read so far, I’ll say this guy is the best writer in the world, rigt now.”
“Second best,” Lance corrected him.
“Who’s the best?”
“Just someone no one’s ever heard of.”
“Ain’t that always the way, eh?”
“S it seems. So it seems.” Pointing at the sign, Lance asked, “Where you going?”
“That’s the wrong question” the kid answered.
“What’s the rigt question?”
“The rigt question is, ‘Can I come with you?’ To which, the answer is, ‘Yes, you can. Let’s go!’”
“Where are we going?”
“Fuck, dude, you got it all wrong. Once upon a time, for a very long time, ‘Where are we going?’ was not a question that was asked, when someone said, ‘Let’s go!’
“It was not asked, because there simply was no answer to that moot question. They had no clue where they were going. There were no maps. They just got off their fucking asses and went.”
Lance was enjoying this, given what he was up to. He smiled knowingly, and the kid continued.
“We are a bunch of soft, sugar-coated pussies. We are fat, lazy ‘fraidy cats, and will remain thus, until our species has the capability to explore the universe, without umbilical cords
“’Where are we going?’ Pffttt! Is it safe? Well, if there were no risks, it wouldn’t be as exciting as it is, would it? I am pretty confident, and a little disappointed, that there are no dragons there. Ogres and witches aplenty, but alas, no dragons.”
Amused, Lance pointed at the graffiti above the kid, and asked, “Are you questionMark?”
The kid laughed and answered, “No, I’m not. But if you’re gonna pan for gold in a ghost town, you need all the help you can get, so I figured that bit of wisdom might attract some attention, at least from intelligent life forms, preferably from another planet, but beggars can’t be choosers… so I plopped myself down here. And here you are.”
“Good thinking. I was just in Thunder Bay, and the same thing is scrawled on a billboard, across the road from the hotel I was staying at.”
The kid laughed, “What the fuck were you doing in Thunder Bay? Did you lose a bet?”
“Something like that.”
“That’s where I’m from.”
“No shit, huh?”
“No shit. That’s where I’m going. Did you meet any ogres, or witches?”
Lance ignored the question, and asked one of his own, “If it’s so bad, why are you going back?”
“I’m going to find a girl named Daisy. She’s gonna be my girlfriend.She’s a street elf. Wings of gossamer, coal dust for make-up. Magic wand in one hand, switchblade in the other.”
“She works at the Valhalla. That’s where I was staying. But,” Lance cautioned, “you’d better hurry up; a girl like her won’t stay on the open market for long.”
Laughing, the kid said, “No, I ain’t in no hurry. I already know it ain’t gonna end well.”
“So, why are you going?”
The kid shrugged and answered, “I used to say that I would rather lick the puss oozing out of the scabs in the crack of a leper’s ass, than go back there.”
“So, why are you going?”
“Because, although the road to madness is long, dark, lonely and cold, and even though the charred and broken people you pass going in the other direction are still smouldering and vibrating, you keep staggering along, because crazy is where you are meant to be.”
“Crazy with Daisy is your destiny?”
“Crazy here, crazy there, crazy crazy everywhere! May as well have some company, for a while, at least.”
“You’re an artist.”
“I am art. Art is my name, art is my game.”
Lance laughed, and wondered if Art would play a further role in the surreal dramedy he was living. “Good luck, Art.”
He reached into his pockets to turn them inside out, to show that he had no money to offer. But in his rigt, front pocket he found a wad of bills, and a handful of gold coins.
He pulled out the money and handed it to Art, who instantly started counting it. “Six hundred and sixty six dollars,” was the count.
Lance grinned, and thought of the three sixes tattooed on Kitty’s inner, left thigh, with an arrow pointing to heaven.
Art counted it again, to make sure. “Six hundred and sixty six dollars, dude. Are you the devil? Should I be going to the hockey stick factory in Nipigon? Do I have to sign somewhere for this?”
The boy who would be King turned, and walked away, without another word. Before he’d taken five steps, Art yelled, “Allah fucking Akbar!”